Man-made cellulosic fibres such as viscose, lyocell and modal are produced from natural materials and are a mainstay of the fashion industry today, providing what looks to be a viable sustainable alternative to harmful synthetic fabrics. This is on the condition, of course, that the wood pulp used to make the fibres is not from forests under risk of deforestation, and harmful chemicals are not being used in processing and finishing. Likewise with cotton, another cellulosic fibre perceived to be sustainable because of its natural origins. But being "natural" is by far not the only criteria for true sustainability.
In this Masterclass, join us as we explore the world of sustainable cellulosic fibres today. In lessons from material innovators and leading sustainable brands, you'll gain familiarity with cellulosic materials, sustainable and ethical manufacturing, and a range of the most cutting edge fabric technologies on the market right now. In this complex materials space, we bust several myths around cellulosic fibres to help you break down the jargon and work out for yourself what fits within your values.
In this Masterclass you will learn:
- About sustainable cellulosic fibres, their make-up, position in fashion production, and how to work with them as a designer
- The sustainable and ethical considerations behind sourcing and using natural and man-made cellulose fibres
- How the latest innovative materials are created; including biopolymer yarns, fibres spun from recycled textiles, agricultural waste and closed loop systems
- Why circular technologies are a major opportunity for sustainability in the cellulosic materials space
- How leading fashion designers are working with organic cotton and sustainable cellulose fibres in their collections
- How it is possible to have a positive social impact and work with indigenous communities to support their livelihoods, while producing a more sustainable fibre
- Case studies of brands who work with sustainable and fair trade cotton
- Myth-busting for well-known cellulosic fibres, such as why rayon is just an umbrella term
What are cellulosic fibres (part one): Naturalwith Stephanie Steele
Understanding what cellulosic fibres are as a designer will pave the way towards a better understanding of the raw material you’re working with: from the characteristics to its origin. You’ll be better equipped to work with fibre and fabric production facilities due to the knowledge you’ll have, and be better placed to judge the sustainability and ethics of what you’re intending to work with. Not only that, but having the fundamentals will give you an opportunity to think outside of the box in terms of material innovation or creative design.
Tune in to this lesson on what cellulose is, with a breakdown of the most common natural cellulosic fibres including how they are processed for production, where they are mostly grown, the global output and issues surrounding sustainability and ethics.
What are cellulosic fibres (part two): Man-madewith Stephanie Steele
Now that you understand what a cellulosic fibre is, along with the feedstock sources of natural cellulosic fibres, we'll now dive in to what the man-made, or regenerated, cellulosic fibres are.
There are arguably more environmental issues involved in the production of man-made cellulosics, due to chemical input and strain on ancient forests, while natural cellulosics would arguably be more framed by ethical considerations due to the impact on smallholder farmers and traditional craft textiles. This lesson explores certain issues surrounding man-made cellulosic fibres, along with some innovations in play to improve this hefty textile market.
All of the takeaways can be found in the handy downloadable guide below.
Creating new sustainable cellulosic fibres from discarded clothingwith Jenny Fredricsdotter
One of the key sustainability issues around the use of wood pulp for the production of fabrics like viscose and lyocell is the destruction of forests that are impossible to replace. But what if there was a waste material that we have a vast quantity of already that could replace wood pulp in the cellulosic fibre process?
We are thrilled to present the Circulose arm of the Swedish re:newcell project that takes discarded clothing and turns it into a brand new cellulosic fibre. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the material, the science behind the process and why it is sustainable.
Creating luxury natural sportswear fabricswith Mery Díez Herbosa
There are an array of exciting innovations taking place in the cellulosic materials space and PYRATES Smart Fabrics materials company are one to watch. Their natural, smart fabrics have been developed to protect and care for the body while leaving a minimal impact on the planet and its resources.
We were delighted to be joined by Mery Díez Herbosa from the PYRATES R&D and Production department to explain more about how vegetal, biodegradable and upcycled fibres can be transformed into luxury knit fabrics.
Working with artisans of toquilla and chambira palm textile fibrewith Maria Cuji
A beautiful story of textile designer Maria Cuji working with artisans in her native Ecuador to learn their skills with processing toquilla and chambira palms for textile fibre, and contemporising the methods for an increased awareness of these indigenous communities and the crafts passed down through generations.